|Publication number||US7774860 B2|
|Application number||US 12/115,064|
|Publication date||Aug 17, 2010|
|Filing date||May 5, 2008|
|Priority date||Mar 1, 2005|
|Also published as||US7370373, US20060195967, US20080209607|
|Publication number||115064, 12115064, US 7774860 B2, US 7774860B2, US-B2-7774860, US7774860 B2, US7774860B2|
|Inventors||Dale W. Kohler|
|Original Assignee||Wm. T. Burnett Ip, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (16), Referenced by (1), Classifications (4), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/067,742, filed Mar. 1, 2005, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,370,373, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to personal protective equipment and, in particular, to a protective sports glove having independent pads, for use in sports such as lacrosse, ice hockey, motorcross, skiing, snowboarding, bicycling, cricket, and field hockey.
2. Background of the Invention
Protective sports gloves, and particularly lacrosse gloves, typically provide thick padding over the back of a player's hand. In lacrosse, this padding protects the player's hands from the hard contact of other players' sticks, which often occurs during checking. However, recent improvements in lacrosse heads and pockets, which make ball dislodgement more difficult, have resulted in an increased level of physical play, as players check more forcefully in efforts to free the ball. In addition, modern athletes tend to be bigger and stronger, increasing the physicality of games such as lacrosse and ice hockey. The protection afforded by the glove padding is therefore now more critical than it has ever been. Increasing the thickness of the padding can help, but often detracts from the comfort and maneuverability of the glove. In addition to protection, players demand feel and flexibility from lacrosse gloves to enable precise stick handling. Thus, increased protection can often work at odds with comfort and maneuverability.
Some conventional lacrosse gloves, such as the glove 100 shown in
The breaks between the pad segments are typically located to accommodate a flex point (e.g., the knuckles or finger joints) or contour (e.g., the shape of a closed first) of the hand. When a player wearing a conventional glove wraps his hand around a stick during play, the pad segments are all pulled away from each other, creating tension on the attached ends 206 and an uncomfortable resistance and stiffness. Increases in the thickness, size, and number of the pad segments or in the rigidity of the material from which the pad segments are made further exacerbate this problem.
The present invention provides a protective glove having independent pads. Instead of affixing pad segments together, as is prevalent in the prior art, the present invention allows the pad segments to move completely independently from one another.
One embodiment of the present invention provides a protective glove having an elastic substrate, a first pad segment attached to the elastic substrate, and a second pad segment attached to the elastic substrate independently from the first pad segment. The elastic substrate can be disposed over an area intended to substantially cover a forearm, a wrist, a back of a hand, a finger, and/or a thumb of a user wearing the glove. The elastic substrate can be stretchable in different directions and to different degrees in the areas around each pad segment, thereby enabling independent movement of the individually attached pad segments to accommodate any number of contours and flex points.
In another embodiment, elastic material, such as spandex, replaces portions of the backing material at certain locations, and the individual pad segments are affixed to the elastic material substrate only. The elastic material can be attached to the backing material by, for example, stitching. In one embodiment, the pad segments cover the back of the hand, fingers, and thumb of a user wearing the glove.
In an alternative embodiment, elastic material covers portions of the backing material, rather than replacing portions. In this case, the pad segments can be attached to one or both of the elastic material and the backing material.
With the above constructions, the present invention provides a significantly more flexible glove. Rather than the pad segments pulling on and constraining one another during flexing, the pad segments move independently and, with the aid of the elastic material, eliminate the resistance and stiffness that is common in the prior art. The elastic material is able to stretch in different directions simultaneously and to different degrees in the areas around each pad segment, thereby enabling independent movement of the individually attached pad segments. Consequently, because the pad segments move independently from each other as the elastic material stretches, the glove of the present invention is able to accommodate any number of contours and flex points.
Other embodiments of the present invention provide methods for manufacturing a protective glove having independent pads.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, each of the pad segments 300 is independently attached to the elastic substrate 320. Thus, unlike prior art protective sports gloves, the pad segments 300 are not attached directly to each other (as shown, for example, by the directly attached ends 206 of the outer covers 204 in
Elastic substrate 320 is preferably able to stretch differently in the area of each pad segment 300 to accommodate the independent and different relative movements of the pad segments 300. For example, elastic substrate 320 may stretch more in the area of a pad segment 300 that covers a flex point of the hand and less in the area of a pad segment 300 that covers a flat portion of the hand. In addition, elastic substrate 320 preferably stretches in any direction to allow the pad segments 300 to move in any direction independently from each other. In essence, the elastic substrate 320 enables the pad segments 300 to float freely over the area of the hand to be protected, without being restricted by each other or backing material 310.
Backing material 310 can also include a gusset 410 as shown in
The size, shape, and location of elastic substrate 320 depend on the area over which independent pad segment movement is desired and the particular flex points or contours that are accommodated. In the example of
In a further embodiment of the present invention, elastic substrate 320 includes openings 404 to provide means for ventilation from the inside to the outside of the glove. Openings 404 are capable of venting heat and moisture from below elastic substrate 320 (i.e., from the inside the glove) to above elastic substrate 320 (i.e., toward the outside of the glove).
Elastic substrate 320 can be made of any material capable of stretching in response to a pulling force and returning to substantially its original size and shape after the pulling force is removed. Preferably, the elastic material has this capability in response to a pulling force in any direction and to pulling forces in multiple directions simultaneously. Elastic substrate 320 could be a woven fabric, a non-woven fabric, a mesh, or other similar material. An example of a suitable elastic material is spandex (elastane) fiber material produced by, for example, Dorlastan Fibers and Monofil GmbH of Dormagen, Germany or INVISTA Inc. of Wichita, Kans. Other examples include Lycra from INVISTA, flexible polyurethane foam, and injection molded elastomeric materials.
In a further embodiment, backing material 310 or elastic substrate 320 can have a woven component such that one side is flocked or more woven-like, while the other side is more elastic or rubbery. The flocked side can be placed against a user's skin for better feel and comfort.
Backing material 310 can be made of any of the materials typically used for glove interiors, including woven and nonwoven textile materials. Examples of suitable materials include nylon and performance fabrics. A performance fabric is an air permeable material that moves moisture away from the user's skin and dries quickly. An example of a suitable performance fabric is Cool Max™ produced by INVISTA of Wichita, Kans. Backing material 310 can also be stretchable.
Referring again to
Pad core 302 can be made of a soft, impact absorbing material such as open and closed cell ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), IXPE foam, air chambers, and gels.
Rigid inner cover 308 can be made of a material that is stiffer than outer cover 304 and pad core 302. For example, suitable materials for rigid inner cover 308 include plastic, carbon fiber, or a metal such as titanium.
The stitching used to attach the components of glove 350 (such as stitching 402) can be a durable, water-resistant thread. For example, suitable thread material for the stitching includes nylon, natural fibers, and metallic threads.
In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, pad segments 300 are compression, injection, cast, or blow molded plastic. For example, instead of having a foam core covered with real or synthetic leather, each pad segment 300 could be a unitary molded piece that is affixed to the elastic substrate and/or backing material. These molded pieces could be shaped and sized accordingly to fit properly over corresponding portions of a glove, such as the palm, fingers, thumb, backhand area, cuff roll, and roll.
In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the elastic substrate is the backing material. For example, the elastic substrate can be in the shape of substantially the entire backing material 310 shown in
In another alternative embodiment of the present invention, the independent pad construction is applied to other portions of a glove, such as the palm, cuff roll, and cuff.
A further embodiment of the present invention provides a method 700 for manufacturing a protective glove having independent pads, as shown in
Optionally, for both methods 700 and 800, before pad segments 300 are attached to elastic substrate 320, ventilation holes 404 can be formed in elastic substrate 320. Similarly, before elastic substrate 320 is attached to backing material 310, holes can optionally be formed in backing material 310, which preferably are generally aligned with holes 404 of elastic substrate 320.
Although the present invention has been described in the context of lacrosse, one of ordinary skill in the art would appreciate that the present invention is applicable to other activities requiring hand protection, such as ice hockey, motorcross, skiing, snowboarding, bicycling, cricket, and field hockey. Thus, notwithstanding the particular benefits associated with applying the present invention to lacrosse gloves, the present invention should be understood to be broadly applicable to any protective glove.
Although embodiments of the present invention presented above describe a particular construction for the pad segments, one of ordinary skill in the art would appreciate that other forms of protective layers could be fastened to the elastic substrate and provide similar benefits. For instance, pad segments that are formed of a compression, injection, cast, or blow molded plastic in the shape of a back of a hand could serve as the protective layer that is attached to the elastic substrate. The molded pad segments could be one or more pieces affixed to the elastic substrate. For this reason, notwithstanding the particular benefits of the pad segment construction described herein, the present invention should be considered broadly applicable to any protective layer attached to an elastic substrate.
The foregoing disclosure of the preferred embodiments of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many variations and modifications of the embodiments described herein will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the above disclosure. The scope of the invention is to be defined only by the claims, and by their equivalents.
Further, in describing representative embodiments of the present invention, the specification may have presented the method and/or process of the present invention as a particular sequence of steps. However, to the extent that the method or process does not rely on the particular order of steps set forth herein, the method or process should not be limited to the particular sequence of steps described. As one of ordinary skill in the art would appreciate, other sequences of steps may be possible. Therefore, the particular order of the steps set forth in the specification should not be construed as limitations on the claims. In addition, the claims directed to the method and/or process of the present invention should not be limited to the performance of their steps in the order written, and one skilled in the art can readily appreciate that the sequences may be varied and still remain within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|Apr 17, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WM. T. BURNETT IP, LLC,MARYLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:STX, LLC;REEL/FRAME:022552/0834
Effective date: 20081231
|Feb 17, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4